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BTE to BCE.

Jun 6, 2016

Dan Pitt shares highlights from Light Reading’s Big Communications Event.

Light Reading’s Big Telecom Event of past years transformed into the Big Communications Event (BCE) in 2016. Held in Austin, it highlighted what operators are currently doing (not just planning to do), shared experiences with SDN and NFV, and discussed NFV MANO – an ETSI-ISG NFV working group that focuses on allowing flexible on-boarding. One of our training partners held an SDN certification class, we hosted an ONF workshop (more about that later), and we co-sponsored a Women in Communications half-day event. My schedule was certainly packed with opportunities for exciting industry dialogue!

Among the many keynotes and sessions on the BCE agenda, two of my favorites were from ONF board member Axel Clauberg (Deutsche Telekom) and the head of the “Ocean” initiative at ONF member company Vodafone, David Amzallag.

In his lead keynote, Axel described his experience with SDN, NFV, and NFV MANO. Something that stood out to me is the success Deutsche Telekom is having with their pan-European network “Pan-Net” (which won an award the night before) to help unify their 13 European operating company processes with cloudification as well as open source software and hardware.

David addressed transport SDN with IP and optical end-to-end orchestration and assurance during his keynote, and he noted that network cloudification, SDN, and NFV are essential for 5G. According to his presentation, Vodafone is buying only cloud-native applications and they will no longer be using the term OSS, but will instead talk about specific functions and orchestration.

The panel I participated on, “Open Source: A Reality Check,” was moderated by Roz Roseboro of Heavy Reading. Other panelists included Marc Collier, COO at OpenStack; Heather Kirksey, director at OPNFV; Lauren Cooney, the head of open source at Cisco; and Randy Nicklas, CTO of Windstream. We discussed how telecom has embraced open source in its move to the cloud, and the increasing activity of telcos in the open source community as participants, contributors, and creators.

I am a bit biased, but perhaps the most thrilling workshop of the week was our “SDNFV: Out of the Silos and Into the Field” workshop. China Mobile, PCCW Global, CableLabs, and Verizon spoke during the workshop, and we hosted a panel about “orchestrator wars” (or the increasing activity in open source orchestrators). The focus shifts higher and higher as we settle plumbing and control plane issues, and we get to where applications and orchestration really reflect particular business uses of the network. In short, we are getting closer to the business value that SDN and NFV bring to network operators.

During the workshop, we also addressed SDNFV – an acronym that we first introduced at the Layer123 NFV World Congress in April. We dove into how often SDN and NFV are discussed simultaneously, with NFV now supported by a foundation of SDN, and leading operators are now placing their bets with real investment in actual deployment. We had great attendance, including BCE General Chair and Light Reading Editor-At-Large Carol Wilson and Heavy Reading Principal Analyst of Cloud and NFV Caroline Chappell among the crowd.

If you’re interested in learning more about SDNFV (and who wouldn’t be?), be sure to catch my upcoming contributed article for Light Reading on the topic. In the meantime, check out the ONF blog later this week to read a post from NXP Semiconductors’ Shweta Latawa about the Women in Communications half-day event at BCE – her post is coming soon!

What were some of your highlights from Light Reading’s BCE? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet us at @openflow.

– Dan Pitt, Executive Director